Girlfriend of murdered tourist accuses Foreign Office of cover up

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Stephen Bennett was killed in India nearly two years ago, but his death has remained unsolved. His girlfriend, Kate Rea claims the Foreign Office “misled and lied” to his family.

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Stephen Bennett was killed in India nearly two years ago, but his death has remained unsolved. His girlfriend, Kate Rea claims the Foreign Office “misled and lied” to his family.

Miss Rea, 28, said the Foreign Office withheld information showing that the Indian police’s investigation into Mr Bennett’s death had failed to make any progress since January 2007.

Father-of-two Mr Bennett, 40, was found hanging from a mango tree in jungle 90 miles south of Mumbai in December, 2006.

Initially, Indian police said Mr Bennett, from Cheltenham, Glos, had committed suicide. It later said he had been murdered. Six men were arrested but have been released.

Miss Rea said a Foreign Office minister wrote to the Indian High Commission on behalf of the family to see how the case was progressing.

She claimed the family was told a response was never received, but later discovered by chance that a reply had been received six months earlier.

Miss Rea added: “They (the Foreign Office) are covering up for a police force, rather than warning other tourists of the dangers in Goa.

“Stephen’s family and I have been misled and lied to by the Foreign Office at one of the most difficult times.”

The Foreign Office said: “The Bennett family was informed about the replies we received from the Indian High Commission.

“The family subsequently submitted an FOI request for copies of all correspondence between the FCO and Indian authorities concerning the Stephen Bennett case since January 2008.

“In order not to inhibit or jeopardise our ability to work with the Indian Government on Stephen’s case, and others, we believe that it is not in either the family’s or the public interest to release the correspondence at this time.”

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